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Operationalising a framework for understanding community resilience in Europe

Philip Revell, Charles Henderson
Regional environmental change 2019 v.19 no.4 pp. 967-979
activists, carbon, climate, community programs, computer software, Europe
A growing movement of bottom-up community-based initiatives across Europe are taking action intended to support a transition to a zero-carbon future. A simple framework for understanding the contribution of these diverse initiatives to building community resilience could provide a useful tool for researchers, funders, policymakers and others to understand their current, and likely future, impact and how they might be better supported. It would also provide a useful basis for such initiatives to critically reflect on and assess their own activities and priorities. The ‘resilience compass’ (Wilding 2011) provides one such possible framework and has the particular merit of having been developed with active participation of community activists. In this paper, this approach has been tested by organising data on the activities of 63 hugely varied community-based climate action initiatives in six European countries. This has created a visual guide to enable a simple comparison of their likely potential to catalyse change and consideration of how the efforts of each might be better balanced to enhance their impact. Further, to support the appropriation of the framework by communities themselves, we report the development of a novel online tool for community initiatives to use for resilience self-assessment and a downloadable resource to support them to run participatory, community resilience workshops. We conclude that this approach has significant potential to advance the scientific understanding of community resilience, and so help create the conditions in which the transformational ‘bouncing forward’ to a low-carbon future can emerge.